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EU officials push hard for a new data-sharing pact with the U.S.

EU officials push hard for a new data-sharing pact with the U.S.

April 20, 2021: Officials from the EU and the U.S. are “intensifying negotiations” on the transatlantic data transfers, in trial to solve the messy issue of personal information transferred between the two regions.

The agreement will replace the Privacy Shield. The European Court of Justice struck the mechanism for legally transferring personal data amid the U.S. and EU, the EU’s top court, last year in July. The ruling, dubbed Schrems II, was taken by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who argued that the framework did not protect Europeans from U.S. mass surveillance.

When the Privacy Shield was invalidated, the court still maintained the validity of standard contractual clauses, one more kind of mechanism for transferring personal data in and out of the EU.

European Commission negotiators, the EU’s executive arm, and the U.S. Department of Commerce are on trial to find a deal that fills the void, but questions still abound.

Schrems challenged Facebook in the courts regarding the data transfers and is a frequent critic of Ireland’s data watchdog over GDPR enforcement. He again argued as the data moved from Europe to the U.S., There were several safeguards in place to make sure that a European’s information isn’t snooped on between the mass surveillance.

“The Privacy Shield was not the main issue; the issue is that the Privacy Shield had to yield to U.S. surveillance laws,” Schrems, the chairman of the digital rights organization Noyb, told CNBC.

“In simple words: The U.S. cannot succeed as the globally trusted cloud provider when foreigners have no rights to their data once it reaches a U.S. provider,” Schrems said.

“In the long run, we need to agree, at least among the democratic nations, that our citizens are protected in cyberspace independent of citizenship and location. Such a ‘no spy’ agreement is in our view the basis for continuous international data transfers, no matter if this concerns users or confidential commercial data that is sent abroad.”

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